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Baby chicks and dogs

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We just brought home 4 baby chicks.  I want my dogs (mainly my little dog) to get use to having them around, so when they are older I can have them run around the yard without her attacking them. Any advice on how to help this relationship between little dog and chicks?

post #2 of 8

Hold a chick and call the dog up next to your lap. Watch the interaction and be ready in case fido thinks you're giving him a treat. Doing this a couple times a week is all it seems to take. You can even progress to putting the  chick beside the dog once you feel comfortable. Most K-9's are pretty smart and will get the idea that this is another pet and to leave it alone. I say most because I had a boxer that was determined to exterminate as many birds as possible.

Brahmas, assorted layers, four kids, and a wonderful wife.
Find us on Facebook at Creekside Acres

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Brahmas, assorted layers, four kids, and a wonderful wife.
Find us on Facebook at Creekside Acres

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post #3 of 8
I have a 80 pound boxer mix and he is 2, I don't know if I just got lucky but he loves them an is very protective over them! I just let him see an smell them an acted like it wasn't a big deal, if u seem panicky about the dog being around them the dog seems to be more aggressive to figure out why. Good luck :-)
post #4 of 8

i think:

assist the dog(s) in understanding the chicks are yours.  since they think in pack mentality, they're more likely to understand  'i can't touch because it belongs to my pack leader'.  my 2 y/o german shepherd knows to Never touch my three year old german shepher's favorite ball because it belongs to him. she wants to, but he made it clear from the start - you can play with anything except my ball.

 

this same 2 y/o when she was 1 killed 10 of my pullets and had so much fun doing it.  i was so upset with her i couldn't stand to even be in the same room with her for a few days.  i wouldn't talk to her or interact with her at all.  since then, she's never offered to even go near the chickens.  if i even see her looking at them i verbally correct her "you leave my chickens alone".  of course it's the tone, not the words, but she instantly looks the other way.

 

the chickens range all around the dogs during the day.  we are now quite comfortable leaving them alone together. 

 

i'm getting more chicks soon.  i won't trust her w/the chicks, but when they get bigger & join the flock,  they'll be fine. 

on the other hand, i think chicks, with their erratic movements are an almost irresistable temptation. 

post #5 of 8

We've got 3 dogs of varying breeds & ages so this definitely one of my concerns!!  Our chicks arrived a week ago and after getting everyone settled in we introduced everyone to one another - My female mutt (also my oldest @ 7ish) enjoys just watching them run around the brooder. She waits patiently at the hallway door to be let in to watch them when we go back to feed/clean/etc. My next is a male pittie mix about 2 years old - He gets a little overly excited around them & has an intensity about him that tells me we probably shouldn't trust him alone with them hmm.png  Our 3rd is a full blooded pittie puppy - he's about 6 months old. We've tried on multiple occassions to introduce him to the birds but he gets scared & runs away each time lau.gif

 

We'll have to continue to work with all of them so that hopefully they won't harrass them when it's time for them to move to the coop/yard!!

post #6 of 8

Make sure you are working with your dogs on overall impulse control training and not just chicken training. Introduce the dogs to the birds on a leash so that you are letting the chicks behave normally. Control the dog not the chickens.

 

Correct (with a command or by having the dog leave the room) with ANY behavior that is not ignoring. Excitement of any kind is not ok, even happy excitement. You want to train the dog to ignore the birds. Work on this EVERY single day. over and over until the behavior is always correct. It is process and takes time.

 

Re-introduce when you move the birds into a new space or when you get new birds.

 

It is do-able but takes a daily time commitment on your part.

 

This my rescued dog Lou:

 

 

700


Edited by ChickensRDinos - 3/13/13 at 1:00pm
post #7 of 8

My dogs get along fine with mature chickens, but I never trust them with chicks.  I am not as concerned about my oldest, because he is lazy and not very big, so killing a chick would probably be too much work - he would rather just go take a nap.  But for the other two I have a collie/golden/hound mix (3 yo) that is high energy, hyper-reactive and tends to startle at stimulus, so she might kill chicks just by stepping on them when she is being crazy, and a schnauzer mix (1 yo)  that has a terrier personality and is way too interested in little peeping things.  A big part of it is knowing your dog.  Does your dog react strongly to little moving things and want to kill them?  Or is he more likely to accidentally inhale a chick while yawning rather than purposefully killing? 

 

You can train dogs to ignore chicks, but even the most perfect training will fail sometimes.  I tend to err on the side of caution until the birds are big enough to get out of the dogs way. 

post #8 of 8

I have a husky who loves the baby chicks. She soft mouths them when she picks them up and carries them all over the yard. Her and the roosters have their stand offs together. I guess it just depends on your dogs temperament. 

I became interested in hatching and raising chickens during a developmental genetics class where we manipulated the genetic code of chicken embryos. One year later, I have many chickens, mostly Ameraucanas and Silkies.

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I became interested in hatching and raising chickens during a developmental genetics class where we manipulated the genetic code of chicken embryos. One year later, I have many chickens, mostly Ameraucanas and Silkies.

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